So my journey began in the mid-90s, and aside from a few short breaks, I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s been a long apprenticeship, but I think I’ve finally worked my way up to being on the border between mediocre and quite good.
I’ve published a trilogy that I began in 1997, and that ended somewhere around 2004. I was still crunching gears and glancing the kerbs back then. From 2004 until 2012 I wrote another two books featuring a protagonist who’s still with me today (we get along really well, except when he has me by the throat up against a wall). During that time I spent a few years script-writing, and I like to think that experience helped me define my writing skills, sharpen my dialogue, and concentrate more on brevity.
In 2012, I began Black by Rose, and I feel that this book is the pioneer of the kind of thing I’m writing today. It’s punchy, it’s deep, it’s crude, and above all it’s thrilling. Since then, Sword of Damocles, Ledston Luck, and a few short stories, have come along to reaffirm and strengthen my ‘new’ style.
So I’ve gone from crunching gears to driving with one arm out of the window and my shades on and Pink Floyd making my ears bleed. I’m not saying I’m so perfect that I don’t need to pay attention any more – nothing could be further from the truth, and I’m always nervously tapping the steering wheel as I wait for the wheel to come off – but now I’m more relaxed about it all. Finding a voice was the hardest thing, but I have it now – the rest is just finding stories.
Running parallel to the books I’ve mentioned, was a desire to be published. Back in the 80s it was my fervent dream. But really, the books I was writing then were horrible – only I didn’t know it. Around 2000 my dream looked like it had arrived. I got an agent and I floated above the potholed lane and knew I’d reached my destination. But it was a horrible experience that wasted a year of my life and punished me like I’d taken a shunt from behind. I had bad whiplash.
The deal died and my ‘destination’ vanished over the horizon but I kept on writing because it’s what I did. I did it for me, content to enjoy my stories, knowing they’d stay in a box file on a shelf in the attic. I loved that time – no pressure, no expectations.
In 2012 someone told me I could publish my books by myself. My ears pricked up and I turned Floyd down so I could listen. From then until now, I wrote my books, and I learned everything about self-publishing I could. I designed covers, I learned how to write blurb, how to market my wares, where and how to sell them, how to pay tax, how to back up files, how to build a ‘fan base’, and how to steal time from people so I could write. I learned how to get along with only a few hours’ sleep, and I learned how to cope with my growing selfishness as I became, and continue to be, obsessed with words. I’m still no good at anything on this list, but that’s fine, they’re all dents and dings on the vehicle that I’m travelling on this journey inside, and each of them has their own story, and each of them belongs there. Perfect imperfection.
2017. I have a publisher! Let me just say that again. I HAVE A PUBLISHER! I have realised my dream. I have someone producing my covers. I have someone editing my book. I have someone marketing my book. I’ve reached my destination, right? Um, nope.
I look at my battered vehicle, (in the past it would have been a Ford Capri with a modified, painted and polished 2.9 V6 Cologne, but nowadays it’s probably a Land Rover Discovery V8 – I like the comfort) and compare it with the publisher’s shiny Jaguar XF… Like I said at the beginning, there is no destination, only a series of experiences, and this is just another to add to the list. There are no wrong turnings, only decisions you make at a point in time with the information or the gut feelings you have available. So, we’ll not get too excited, we’ll just keep writing – that’s the only constant throughout this journey.
And now it seems a publisher’s version of a beautiful and commercial piece of work aligns with my own, and as long as they continue to align, I don’t see a problem. Now, go ahead and turn Pink Floyd back up.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-Barrett/e/B0055888Q0/
My name is Becky. I arrived home to find my husband, Chris, stabbed to death and a gang of men ransacking our house.
Turns out that Chris has something that belongs to them. And if I want to stay alive, I have to find it and return it. They have given me seven days. And a beating.
There is nowhere to hide and no time left to look. So I will stand my ground as the deadline approaches. All I have is a head full of lies and a very bad plan.
This is my story.